Pro Design Tips: Mixing Patterns

Mixing patterns can be intimidating.  When done properly, utilizing complimentary patterns adds interest, depth and warmth to a room.  When done poorly, it can look like a disjointed mess.  The good news?  It's not as difficult as it seems; these three guidelines will help you execute a beautifully layered, professionally-designed look.  

Switch up the Scale  

Let your boldest print be the star of the show; each additional pattern should play a supporting role.  Using a mix of small, medium and large-scale prints creates order, essentially guiding the viewer's eye as he or she enters the space.  The opposite - a collection of large prints, for example - lacks a natural progression and is therefore overwhelming to process.



Mixing patterns that all pull from the same color family (i.e. multiple hues of blue) is one of the easiest ways to ensure a cohesive look.   If you're using a variety of colors, consider choosing patterns that share one common color.  And don't forget: solid fabrics are easy to add to the mix and can act as a color link between prints.



Patterns go far beyond plaid, paisley and stripes.  If bold colors and prints aren't your favorite, try layering textures instead.  From leather to cable knit, there are a variety of styles that offer "pattern" and interest through texture.